Transdermal on-demand drug delivery based on an iontophoretic hollow microneedle array system

Usanee Detamornrat, Marc Parrilla*, Juan Domínguez-Robles, Qonita Kurnia Anjani, Eneko Larrañeta, Karolien De Wael, Ryan F. Donnelly*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Transdermal drug delivery has emerged as an alternative administration route for therapeutic drugs, overcoming current issues in oral and parenteral administration. However, this technology is hindered by the low permeability of the stratum corneum of the skin. In this work, we develop a synergic combination of two enhancing technologies to contribute to an improved and on-demand drug delivery through an iontophoretic system coupled with hollow microneedles (HMNs). For the first time, a polymeric HMN array coupled with integrated iontophoresis for the delivery of charged molecules and macromolecules (e.g. proteins) is devised. To prove the concept, methylene blue, fluorescein sodium, lidocaine hydrochloride, and bovine serum albumin–fluorescein isothiocyanate conjugate (BSA-FITC) were first tested in an in vitro setup using 1.5% agarose gel model. Subsequently, the ex vivo drug permeation study using a Franz diffusion cell was conducted, exhibiting a 61-fold, 43-fold, 54-fold, and 17-fold increment of the permeation of methylene blue, fluorescein sodium, lidocaine hydrochloride, and BSA-FITC, respectively, during the application of 1 mA cm−2 current for 6 h. Moreover, the total amount of drug delivered (i.e. in the skin and receptor compartment) was analysed to untangle the different delivery profiles according to the types of molecule. Finally, the integration of the anode and cathode into an iontophoretic hollow microneedle array system (IHMAS) offers the full miniaturisation of the concept. Overall, the IHMAS device provides a versatile wearable technology for transdermal on-demand drug delivery that can improve the administration of personalised doses, and potentially enhance precision medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2304-2315
Number of pages12
JournalLab on a Chip
Issue number9
Early online date18 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 07 May 2023


  • Biochemistry
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Chemistry


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